Posted by: prepare4 | March 25, 2009

Thirty Days and Thirty Ways to Be Better Prepared

Thirty Days and Thirty Ways to Be Better Prepared
By Carolyn Nicolaysen

November brings the anticipation of the holidays, and sometimes the nervous question of how to stretch the household budget a little further.  When it comes to family preparedness, there are so many things we can do that don’t require spending a penny, or even much of our time! Here are thirty ideas to move your emergency plan forward that are just plain simple, and mostly free:

November 1st:  Beginning today, save your pocket change at the end of each day.  Make saving a part of your dinnertime ritual.  Get a 1-quart canning jar and each evening as you sit down to eat have everyone in the family empty the coins from their pockets and purses into the jar.  They might need a little assurance that this is for a good cause, and just for 30-days. This is money that will scarcely be missed, yet it can provide the seed money for your emergency preparedness plan. It will also set an example for your family of the importance of savings and self-reliance.

November 2nd: Gather empty canning jars and fill them with water.  Return them to their boxes on your shelves and you have added to your water storage.  These do not have to be sealed, as the water will last until it is canning season again – when you dump the water to use the jars for canning.  The lids should be sterilized before use, but do not need to be new as you are not going to process the water. If you want the water to last indefinitely, use new lids, process for 20 minutes in a water bath canner and store in boxes.

November 3rd: Check the other water you have stored in bottles and jugs – dump and replace any that is older than 1 year.

November 4th: Call grocery stores and bakeries and ask if they have 5 gallon buckets they are willing to give away or sell.  Sometimes they will just give them to you.  These can be used to store grains, pet food, or even to stack your food pouches in so the pests can’t get to them.  If you are offered buckets that had pickles in them do not use these for food but rather for storing your evacuation kits or to hold in reserve for emergency use as a port-a-potty.

November 5th:  Read the talk “If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear” by President Gordon B. Hinckley (Ensign November 2005).

November 6th: Family Home Evening: Make a list with your family of all their favorite meals and snacks.  These will become the basis for your year’s supply of food.

November 7th: Teach your family how to turn off the gas supply to your home in event of fire or earthquake. Show them where to turn off the water supply in case pipes are broken.

November 8th: Make a list of everything in your home that requires electricity. Now, make a list of the items you could substitute for those services during an emergency.  For example: For lighting you will need flashlights and glow sticks. Instead of a washer and dryer you will need liquid laundry detergent, a large tub or sink, a clothesline and clothes pins.

November 9th: Brainstorm a list of everything in your home that requires water.  What could you store to minimize or conserve the use of water during a disaster?  As an example: Instead of washing dishes you can store some disposable cups, plates, bowls and eating utensils.

November 10th: Collaborate with others. Create a list of items you will need for food storage or family preparedness, and a list of friends and family who may be able to provide some of those items.  For example, consider who has fruit trees and would be willing to share their surplus fruit. Find out when crops are in season where you live, and write it on your calendar for next year (you can check with your county agriculture extension office).

>November 11th:  Brainstorm with your family a list of talents and resources you have in “surplus” that might be used to barter for the items on the list you created yesterday.  If you do canned foods each summer, consider trading some for fresh fruit or veggies.

November 12th: Read “Prepare for the Days of Tribulation” by President Ezra Taft Benson (Ensign, November 1980).

November 13th: Family Home Evening: Study the list of suggested items to include in a 72-hour kit.  Have family members gather as many items as they can from around the house. 

November 14th:  Organize the items you gathered yesterday and make a list of items you still need to purchase. Prioritize the list.  Remember – a large backpack, water, food, warmth, and light should be first.  Watch for our upcoming Meridian Magazine article “The Gift of Preparedness”.

November 15th: Begin an inventory of your year’s supply.  Today you can start by listing your stock of cleaning supplies and toiletries.

November 16th: Continue your year’s supply inventory by listing all of your fruits and vegetables: canned, frozen and/or dried.

November 17th: You’re really rolling on this inventory – today you count your storage of meats, beans, and spices.

November 18th: Now complete your inventory by counting your grains and baking supplies such as flour, sugar, and baking powder.

November 19th: Read “Preparation for the Second Coming” by Elder Dallin H. Oaks (Ensign May 2004).

November 20th: Family Home Evening: Hold emergency drills with your family and practice what you would do in case of fire, flood, earthquake, hurricane, tornado or any other disaster that may occur in your area.  Make sure your children know where they should meet, who your family contact person is, how to contact them, and what each family member should grab before leaving the house if there is time.

November 21st: Become a detective. Label items not emptied after one use with the date they were opened.  Items would include such things as vinegar, toothpaste, laundry detergent, over the counter medications, large bags of dog food, diapers and plastic garbage bags.  Before throwing away the empty container calculate the time it took to use it up and you can then calculate the number you will need for a year.

November 22nd: With a permanent marker mark the tops of all the cans and jars currently in your cupboards and storage with a slash or an X.  As you purchase new items, mark them with the dates they were purchased.  Now you can use the one with the slashes first and when they are gone you will have dated cans which can then be used in the order in which they were purchased.

November 23rd: Happy Thanksgiving! As you gather with your family, create a family preparedness plan. Choose an out-of-area family member who will act as the contact person during an emergency. All family members can check in with that one person and relay messages to the rest of the family. Every individual family should have a contact person and all the adults should know the contact info. Your contact should also be sent copies of your important documents in case you have to evacuate quickly and don’t have time to gather them.  They should also have current pictures of each family member in case a member is separated and rescue personnel need a photo.

November 24th:  Check out a new resource, such as the Federal Citizen Information Center at  to find a list of available bulletins on many subjects including nutrition, canning, and preparing for medical emergencies.

November 25th: Have family members sort through their closets and take good used clothing to D.I. or to a consignment shop.

November 26th: Read “Food Storage” by Bishop Vaughn J Featherstone (Ensign, May 1976)

November 27th: Collect important documents to copy for your 72-hour kits and send to your contact person.  These should include, but are not limited to: birth certificates, insurance documents, deeds, pink slips for cars, church ordinations, patriarchal blessings, wills, and medical records.

November 28th: Now copy or scan the items you collected yesterday.  If you don’t have them all, copy what you do have and insert them into your kits, with a second copy sent to your contact person. A good place for originals might be a safe deposit box.

November 29th: Make a household inventory for insurance purposes.  Using a digital camera or video camera, open all the drawers and doors of closets and take pictures of everything.  If you are recording, speak as you record and note the original cost of items, their age, and other factors which might document their value.  Also, send a copy of this inventory to your contact person, and keep the original in your safe deposit box.

November 30th: Spend your pocket change.  You should have a better idea now of the items you need to be better prepared.  Use the money you have been collecting in your jar each day.  Go out and purchase a few of the items you need for your 72-hour kits, or add to your food storage.

Now, a parting thought to ponder: Although the Savior’s parable of the Ten Virgins was mainly given to teach us about the spiritual snares that await the unprepared, having the temporal equivalent of oil in our lamps may be just as essential to the well-being of our families in troubled times, when wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes, blizzards and floods can each be part of just another month’s headlines – a month like October 2006.

Now just reflect on our plan for 30-days, and how much better prepared you can be in a single month! All this without the expense of any folding money, which has so many other uses for the Christmas holiday and all those details that make the season brighter!


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